I remember going to a dinner party, some years ago now, where the host asked me how I was doing.  I told her that I was not feeling too optimistic about the future. I began to cite the futility of life as we know it, etc. She asked why I felt this way. I responded, “The more I read, the more fatalistic I become.”

“Whatever you are reading, you should stop!” she pleasantly replied. The remainder of the dinner party went off without a hitch.

I cannot say enough about Kathy, Shannon, and Angie O’Hare. They have done, as they always do, set out to keep us entertained with both back, and down, stage entertainment. Last night I was thrilled to stumble upon their brand new You Tube channel.


Charming as always, led by the forever social Angie, the couple invited me into their home, via You Tube, and shared some of the inner workings of Obtanium Works. For those not-in-the-know, Obtanium is roughly defined as . . . well . . . junk.  But not junk. Somebody else’s junk that the masterful O’Hares turn into ART. Yes capital letter ART.  Little or nothing is purchased, so I am told, so everything that gets used has been remediated, recycled and renewed. The 3 R’s of a happy planet.  I won’t share any more but I do advise checking out there You Tube channel and subscribing for updates. In truth, it may be some time until we are all able to gather on Georgia Street again to watch the fire breathing dragons. So get it while it’s hot!

It feels like our new normal is starting to really kick in.  More cases of COVID-19 are expected so the Federal Government is sending to us, here in California, temporary hospitals with extra beds and tons of supplies. The President has also authorized National Guard Troops to assist here as well. Of course they will remain under the Governor’s control.  (Is anyone else just a little nervous that Federal National Guard troops are going to heavily Democratic States, or is it just me?)

I also noticed something else and I am wondering if you have too.  There are 7 stages of grief, and I think that I am in the middle of them right now.  Let’s look together and you tell me if this fits for you as well.

(The following is copied from )

    You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

I was definitely is Shock when I first heard about the Shelter in Place orders.

    As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

    You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

If you read my weekend posts then you know I was surely feeling Pain & Guilt.

    Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion. 

    You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)

Bargaining is the way I make it through life. I did that too, with my Social Distance Driveway Cocktail gatherings.

    Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

    During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

Thankfully, my writing to you every day has mitigated some of the depression. Loneliness, even though I am happy at home, is starting to become a thing.

    As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

With the O’Hare’s example. Let us all find the tools, the ones that each of us already has, and create something beautiful to share, with the Obtanium Opportunity with which we have all been provided.

    As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

Now here we go, it is time to work through. We have local businesses that are coming up with amazingly creative ways to keep us fed and entertained. Here’s a link to a list of some local businesses. Let’s spend our money here, in Vallejo.

    During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

    You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

    You have made it through the 7 stages of grief.

We all need to stay informed. We all need to enlist best practices when it comes Sheltering in Place and to do our part to Flatten the curve.  In a speech in Cape Town in June 1966, Robert Kennedy said: There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times. ‘ Like it or not we live in interesting times.

My question to you: So what are you going to do about it?

I’m going to write. The O’Hare’s will Vlog.  Your turn . . .

Until Tomorrow,

Tommy Judt

2 Replies to “MOVING FORWARD”

  1. Agree with Ellen. Always grateful for your caring thoughts. I am going to read and help here in London the best I can online.
    Be well all.

  2. Thank you Tommy, for bringing these difficult subjects which are weighing on most of us to our attention. I appreciate your introspection and philosophical nature.

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